the emergency room]. The charges against him were dropped when they found out he had AIDS. Evidently, they didn’t want to have to touch him after that.
The story that the police told the doctors in Ward D was that Régis had tried to cut in line and then began fighting with the others in line and spat at them and told them he had AIDS. He was arrested for disturbing the peace. By the time I got to the emergency room he had disappeared.
I tried to convince Alina that she could not blame herself for the suffering Régis had gone through. We had all heard stories about what it was like at the INS, I told her, but given his situation we had no other choice than to recommend what we recommended.
She wondered out loud why there were two versions of the story. Was there any truth to the police’s version of what happened? I told her about the pictures in Régis’s album, the ones where he was photographed with the missionaries and the children. Was the person we knew capable of initiating that sort of violence? I had no difficulty deciding which version of the story I would believe.
Régis showed up unexpectedly at our office three days later. Since fleeing the emergency room, he had been living on the streets. He still had bruises on his face and arms from the beating he had received. His clothes were wrinkled and dirty. I told him how sorry I was for all he had gone through. He was very concerned that his vision was now deteriorating rapidly. When I examined him I found spots on the retina of his left eye, which indicated a viral infection. He had been right about his vision all along. It had just been too early for me to pick up on examination. I spoke with Margaret. There was a possibility that a new antiviral agent might slow or reverse the progression of his blindness. I admitted him to my ward team.
Riding home that evening, Amal and I were somber. I asked her if she believed in the second coming. “As sure as my next breath.” she responded.
“And what is prophesied about the Second Coming?” I asked.